Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The Mighty Midgetts

Two days ago I shared the story of Rasmus Midgett and his daring rescue of ten crew members from the wrecked barkentine, Priscilla.

According to Jan DeBlieu in her 1998 book, Hatteras Journal, Matthew Midget (or Midyett), a Frenchman of undetermined age, in 1722 was granted nineteen hundred acres of the Outer Banks known as Bodie Island (so named because of the great number of bodies washed ashore there from numerous shipwrecks).

Matthew had learned carpentry in London. Then, about 1708, signed on as a sailor aboard a ship bound for America. His vessel sank in a hurricane, and Matthew washed ashore at Chicamacomico Banks (near Rodanthe).

In subsequent years, the Midgetts (or Midgettes) became one of the most prominent, and most numerous, families on Hatteras Island. By 1874 six of the seven crew members of the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station were Midgetts. Over the years they have distinguished themselves in valiant rescues, and have been awarded seven gold life-saving medals.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter relates the story of the prohibition-era rum runner Messenger of Peace that brought much pleasure to the residents of Portsmouth. You can read it here:

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:55 AM

    Can't hardly google info on OBX without coming across the name Midgett.
    Now I know why they called them "mighty".
    Also learned why they named the island "Bodie" (wouldn't have been my 1st choice.)